How to Configure Show Preview for Messages in iOS

Read this article to learn how to turn “Show Preview” on and off in iOS 5, iOS 6, iOS 7 and iOS 8.

In the release of iOS 5 for the Apple iPhone, iPod and iPad, Apple added a number of great new features, including iMessages (now called Messages) and the much needed Notification Center. These new features are a boon to Apple mobile device users who rely on text messaging as a means of communication (who doesn’t these days?).

In iOS 5, Apple has changed the location of the setting to enable and disable the text messaging “Show Preview” option.  For those of you not familiar with it, this handy option (if turned on) will show a snippet of the actual text message you are receiving in the message alert notification when you are not using the iMessages app. So, if you wish to be a bit more private about who might see the content of your text messages when the notification alert pops up, you can turn this option off.  Once off, all that you will see is the name or phone number of message sender and the words “Text Message”.

Notification Center iconIn iOS 4, you could turn “Show Preview” on and off from the Messages section of the Settings app (this is the app that has the gears icon).

In iOS 5, however, Apple has moved this configuration.  It can still be found in Settings, but is now under the “Notifications” section.  Within Settings –> Notifications, look for the “Messages” section and select it.  Once there, you will see the option to “Show Preview” about half way down the screen (see image included in this article). From there you can enable and disable this option as you deem necessary.  Enjoy!

The instructions above are also valid for Apple’s iOS 6!

show preview in notification centerIn iOS 7 the procedure has changed a little. Go into Settings and select “Notification Center”.  Scroll down to the “INCLUDE” section of this window and find Messages.  Select Messages and scroll down to the “Show Preview” section. From there, you can turn preview on and off.  See image to the right.

in iOS 8, the steps are the same as is iOS 7, except the name of the option is now called “Show Previews“.

13 Replies to “How to Configure Show Preview for Messages in iOS”

  1. Thank you so much for this article! Before the update I had the preview turned on and afterwards couldnt find where I could change it. I thought I was stuck with my previous decision to keep the preview on and couldnt find ANYWHERE that showed me how to change it.

  2. iMessage is not quite a replacement for instant messaging or text messages, but the fact that Apple has combined the two into one app, rather than creating an iMessage app that’s completely separate, is a smart move, and one that may hasten the demise of SMS .

  3. omg soo happy i hated people being able to see my messages including my mom!! i kept getting in trouble for that stupid preview !!!

  4. i hope you can help me. i have the new iphone 4s. i need a loud sound/alert when i recieve an incoming text message. when i get the first message my “set alert” will sound but after that there is no audible alert only vibration while having a text conversation.

    can you help.i have looked everywhere

  5. so i turned on the show preview button, and had my friend send me a text message. But after got it on my home screen and slid it to the left it still didnt work so i dont know how to make it work.

  6. Inside my settings under message it says preview then it has 1 line, 2 lines ,3 lines etc…what does this mean . What is this used for ?

    1. I believe you are looking at the preview settings for Mail, not Messages. The option to change the number of lines in the Mail preview settings determines how many lines of text the Mail app will display from each email when you are viewing a list of emails in a folder, like your Inbox.

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